Tempura Hajime is a Japanese restaurant located in South Melbourne, to be more precise, it was 2-3 minutes walk from tram stop 20-Domain Interchange. The restaurant was secluded and anyone could possibly miss the hidden nameplate. Every single day (except Monday and Sunday), they only serve 12 people maximum for each seating (lunch and/or dinner) due to the limited space and also there are only 1 chef and 2 waitresses serving the guests.
I came there with my high school friends, J and S, during dinner. We could see that all the seats available were fully occupied. We decided on the $98 tempura and sushi set (10pcs of tempura) and we decided not to consume any alcohol so we could study till late (we had our final exams at that time). It’s surprising that the waitress told me to not take any picture of the interior but I was glad that I could still take a picture of the food.
As the restaurant is specializes in tempura, all the tempura here was prepared by 1 chef and served fresh and hot individually.
The fishes tasted fresh and mild. A good appetizer.
It was light and seasoned adequately.
Before we get into the tempura, these are the condiments:
You can dip it in any condiments, but I usually mix the radish and the soy sauce and dip it lightly there.
Corn + Asparagus Tempura
Despite the crunch, the asparagus remained delicate. The corn, on the other hand, delivered a fresh and sweet flavor. You know a chef had an admirable skill when he or she manages to cook asparagus without making it rocklike.
Tender and chewy with textural crunch. I almost forgot to take a pic hahaha. In fact, I already bit a little of the tip.
Sweet Potato (No Pict)
Sweet and subtle.
After that we were given some seaweed salad. The sad thing was the tiny portion of seaweed that it had. Although, the dressing sauce was perfectly invigorating.
Scallop + Sea Urchin
I was happy that it was not hard-bitten and fishy.
Tuna Avocado Roll
Creative but I don’t think I would like to eat more of it. I just don’t like the combination.
Zucchini Spicy Tuna
The zucchini complimented the kicking flavor of the tuna.
Mushroom and Mashed Prawn
Splendidly spongy! My most favorite!
Black Currant Shot (No Alcohol)
A sweet refreshment before we move on to the sushi platter.
The rice was not crumbly, that means the rice was freshly prepared. I like everything on the plate. It had a true Japanese taste. The egg had the restaurant name printed on it. Beautiful!
Yoghurt - Moscato Pudding Jelly
Both ingredients were heavy and they clashed with each other. The pudding had too much creaminess or thickness going on. Not a foolproof dessert. I hope they can serve something lighter.
The tempura was lightly battered so they did not look like a vegetable or a prawn that was soaked into too much flour, and they were not greasy at all despite the crisp. The idea of serving only 12 guests per night is absolutely brilliant. It helps to make sure the chef brings out his skill in preparing fresh and comfortably hot tempura(s). The price was expensive but it was payoff by the delightful meal that we had.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri (7:30 AM-3 PM), Sat (8 AM-2:30 PM), Sun (8:30 AM – 2:30 PM)
Crushing On: Lobster Benedict
Crush Level: 4.5/5
Date of Visit: 20/5/2015
A brunch place that is loved by almost everyone in Melbourne. It’s even gaining popularity between tourists as one of the brunch places that has to be tried in Melbourne. Everyone has to queue even on weekdays. Although, better than weekends. Thanks to my friend, Dew, who had waited for 15 minutes, I managed to have a seat as soon as I arrived at the place.
Two beautifully runny eggs rested on top of so fresh and lightly seasoned chunks of lobster with a hint of lemon zest in between of two pillowy buns. This is the real definition of brunch. I seriously need nothing else for brunch.
Baked Eggs Deux
A pot of baked eggs with two generous pieces of bread. The baked eggs did not have an overpowering taste of tomato and it was satiating. It was the greatest baked eggs of all.
Hardware Societe lives up to its name. It was the finest brunch I’ve ever had. It is quite pricey but you’ll never regret it when you taste the food.
P.s. don’t go there during weekends. You will never know when you’ll be able to nab a table.
Rumour told me that there is an Asian restaurant that serve scrumptious quails. Coincidentally, PPIA Unimelb teamed up with the restaurant to provide a discount for members. So, my friends (R, D, and L) and I did not take a long time to make a reservation and pre-order some of the quails beforehand.
Spicy Quail ($8/pcs)
My friends said the spicy quail was succulent and savory. Though, they do not think it was spicy enough.
Non Spicy Quail ($8/pcs)
The non-spicy quail was also succulent. It had a sweet, savory flavor with crispy skin and fluffy meat. You may want to eat it with some white rice because it made the quail to be more delish.
Salt & Pepper Calamari ($21.80)
Exciting plate. The chewy calamari was spiced with incredible flavors (salty and spicy) that mixed well together and would make anyone addicted. It would make a tickling finger food.
Deap Fried Barramundi with Black Bean & Oyster Sauce ($19.80)
Sizzling barramundi with pungent black bean and oyster sauce. I’m not a huge fan of black bean so I cannot say I like this fried fish especially when the black bean was controlling the dish. I ordered the dish because I thought I may overcome my hatred for black bean but I could not. However, my friends seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Tofu and Mix Veg Claypot ($16.80)
A simply tasty and heartwarming dish that’s also healthy.It's like a bowl that's wealthy of nutrition but with appetizing sauce/soup.
The quails were exquisite as well as the calamari but I would not say the same for the other dishes. They were pretty much mediocre. But I will still be back for more quails. Above all the food is not overpriced, the service was outstanding, and the food was quick to be served.
400 Gradi is a famous Italian restaurant known for its world best Margherita Pizza which I did not decide to order because I was not in the mood for pizza. But I promise, I’ll try the well-known pizza if I have a chance in the future.
The restaurant was packed with a lot of customers. My friend, D, and I were blessed, as we were able to get a table in just 5 minutes. Although, we had to enjoy our dinner in the middle of a cold night. It did have a heater but I the wind was pretty strong.
Linguine Pescatore (AUS$34)
The napoli sauce intertwined beautifully with the white wine creating a light yet vibrant sauce that clang to each strand. The seafood were well-executed and packed with alluring flavor of the tomato sauce. I’m ready to swallow each strand of it anytime.
Tagliata di Manzo (AUS$39)
Slices of magnificently tender black-angus eye fillet hiding behind a bush of rocket salad that brimmed with freshness. Not exactly my favorite dish at the restaurant but it was certainly enjoyable.
Tortino al Cioccolato (AUS$16)
A warm and pillowy lava cake that erupted a stunningly runny chocolate. I cannot find anything incorrect about it despite not being a huge fan of chocolate.
Cannoli Siciliani (AUS$16)
There were three flavors: the ricotta& candied fruit (white), chocolate, and pistachio (green). All of the cannoli(s) were crunchy and irresistibly sweet. They were a bit belly filling so I suggest you to share it with your friends.
400 Gradi surely lives to its name. It maybe pricey but the quality says otherwise. I will surely make my way to return to the restaurant and try some other fantastic dishes, including the margherita pizza.